LAST YEAR Longines asked me about what elegance is to me, and as a dressage rider, elegance goes a lot deeper then a certain outfit. An elegant ride requires the most knowledge and experience in order to look effortless. Just like Longines watches.
One thing: Be sure to always be aware of what gear you’re riding in, and to regularly make transitions between different gears.
To start you can use the 5 gear theory: As if your horse, like a car, had 5 gears.
In trot for instance: I start in 3rd gear, the standard gear – working trot for warm up. From there I go up to a couple of lengthened strides in medium trot – 4th gear. Then back to 3rd. Possibly an extension – 5th gear. And I go down collect the trot, on the short side for instance. The collected trot required from elementary I refer to as 2nd gear. More collection and down to piaffe is 1st.
While practicing, be patient, it takes time to develop the gears correctly. And if you loose balance or frame in one gear, take a step back work on the former to get steadier.
Always change gear with your seat, or your ‘tunnel’ for those who ride with me. No hands. (If you need the hand, go back to with on half halts using your seat.)
SUCH A GREAT WEEKEND riding and teaching in Sweden! There is always such a positive vibe teaching at the yards over here. Very happy to see both old and new faces, but goldie of this weekend was for sure to see my all time favourite girl NIBBLES! Incredibly grateful to see her so happy and healthy in my home town with her new rockstar mum Annika <3
One kind dressage reminder today: To improve the balance of the horse it is necessary to raise the head and neck. This can be achieved only with the increase of correct collection. The connection between raising the head and neck – and collection is one of the most misinterpreted of dressage. The degree to which the neck can be raised will be decided by the conformation and strength of the horse, and it will be less with a horse that is weak in the hindquarters and the back. If the rider demands a higher frame then the horse is ready for – the horse will drop his back under the weight of the rider, show discomfort for going forward or no longer be able to bring his hind legs under his body.
To strengthen the back the horse needs to carry his rider with a straight back and seek contact with the bit by lowering his head. ONLY then will the rider, by use of the pushing aids, be able to make the horse step more under his body with the hind legs. There are no horses that are “leg aid numb” with this preparation. Then, by focusing more and more of the energy towards the back the hind legs will be able to come more under the body- and the head, neck and back will be able to come into a higher position, in relation to the back. In correct collection.
IT’S VACATION TIME! & not just my normal one or two day holiday, I have two weeeeeks for the first time in about one million years!! Luckily I’m this year able to take a break and enjoy some well deserved (if I may say that to myself) time off. I’m usually good in valuing time to recharge, as rest it’s incredibly important to perform at your best. But usually I can’t leave the horses for more then a couple days. So, ahh, I’m really excited to do absolutely nothing horsey for weeks!
It honestly was about a decade or so ago I took this amount of time off. I usually just want to get back to ride after a few days, rather then doing nothing or something else then riding. But this time I’m well prepared and loving myself to some favourite routines here in Biarritz, France:
Mostly my daily rituals include: morning yoga (by the beach for now yess, and in the most comfortable yoga wear from Ana Heart London <3), I have time to cook food (well, thanks to my other half for having the foodie fingers of us two but I’m doing my best to make yummy snacks at least!) like home made green smoothies, gluten free granola and lemon pressés.
I absolutely ADORE the inner luxury lifestyle brand THE BARN UK, all they stand for, and all their self caring accessories. I’ve brought most of my favourites from there. Like the crystal water bottle, their essential body oil (which calms down not only your sun burned skin but also soothes your whole being) and their beautiful jewellery. <3 The Barn. I try to get a snooze or meditation in the afternoons (CALM is a great app for the days when you need a bit of guidens, or if you’re just curious to get started with a meditation routine) and I love the fresh seafood we enjoy most evenings! Ah, and just to not sit way too still we did a little road trip to the mountains, and to the desert in Spain! I do love big natures. It gives me peace (when I don’t have a horse at hand). But mostly I’m trying to take it e a s y y y.
I’M JUST BACK from one of the most spectacular equestrian events of the year – The Royal Ascot 2019. And even if racing is not my nr 1 cup of equestrian tea, this event serves so much more then the sport. Royal Ascot is equally synonymous with sartorial elegance and is awash with colourful fashions as well as the most magnificent millinery creations and shiny, sparkling, inspiring people. Spectacular heritage, high fashion, Fine Dining and pageantry come together to create such a special atmosphere and experience. (Ah, I’ve always loved the contrasts of my quiet day to day life hanging out with my horses, mixed up with spectacular sparkly events and people. THAT’s totally my cup of tea.)
I’m so grateful to be invited by my absolute favourites LONGINES to stay at the beautiful Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel, (have a look at the different outfits stylist David Hawkins played around with there. I LOVED them all.) and then enjoying the beautiful day at Ascot Racecourse.
Thank you Longines for supporting the whole equestrian world to keep up the standards, both for horses, riders and spectators! <3
The Royal Andalusian Riding School is back - YouTube
I’VE JUST spent 4 incredible days in Jerez, Spain, riding and training with the Spanish legend Rafael Soto – Olympic dressage rider, Spanish team trainer, aaand since 33 years back Master Rider at the Royal Riding School in Jerez ! I’m so very grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to share an interview with this great horse man. Coming soon!
In the mean time, some videos of some piff & puff here, riding Rafael’s ‘Importante’. & above from the Royal Riding School.
THROUGH YOGA we can achieve so much better, both in life but also as in the saddle. Yoga gives us the opportunity to strengthen both physically, mentally and emotionally. It gives us better core strength, better balance, better alignment and overall stability and responsiveness in the saddle (etc).
Core strength is required to maintain your upright posture in the saddle, while the horse moves underneath you in walk, trot or canter. When you are riding you are in a naturally unstable environment because your horse is always moving. The bigger or more unpredictable your horses movement, the stronger your core needs to be.
Balance is knowing where your body is in space and constantly adjusting to maintain your upright position. Having good balance and body awareness is a learned skill. The better your balance is the more stable you will be in the saddle.
Alignment is being positioned correctly in the saddle so that your joints move efficiently. This is also called biomechanics. Sometimes the saddle we have can favour one side of our body, or be slightly twisted, without us realising it. The better aligned awe are, the less wear and tear we put on our joints and ligaments when we move. It also makes life a lot easier for our horses.
Core strength, balance and alignment all come together to create stability in the saddle. Giving yourself a centered and balanced seat can dramatically help your horses movement. It also creates both a better picture and feeling in the saddle.
I love to take my riders through this practice during The Equestrian Retreats and one way to easily bring this practice into your every day is through Mind Body Horse‘s brilliant offer. I’ve just accepted their 21 day challange. Please join!
I’M A PROUD member of Team Stübben and I’m happily riding in the best tack I’ve ever come across. They simply offer the most innovative solutions, use an environmentally friendly production, and hold more experience then anyone with their 125 years in the family.
As Stübben celebrate their 125th birthday and a new range of products, they kindly offer us a 17,5% discount during May 12-13!
SO HAPPY to be co hosting The Equestrian Yoga Retreat in Morocco this October! In collaboration with Yard Yoga & renown yoga- & meditation teacher Sarah Campbell-Lloyd we take a step back from the daily performance to reflect and renew, through yoga, meditation, surf and of course – horses.
Please join us on a retreat of a life time. Far more than a vacation, a retreat offers you the time to yourself, to rest, heal, reflect, and renew on a physical and emotional level.
Our time will be spent waking up in the Moroccan desert with the sea just outside the door. A short walk to your morning yoga practice, delicious local vegetarian food served for breakfast, lunch and dinner, free time to walk along the beach, read books and connect with friends and ending the day with another yoga practice. On two of the days, we will offer a horse safari through the beautiful desert. If the sea calls you more then there is the option to surf instead. Our intention on this retreat is to help you to feel rested, connected and free through listening deeply to the needs of your physical body and your inner life.
Sarah Campbell-Lloyd will guide you through morning and evening yoga and meditations to explore and connect you to yourself.
Linnea Aarflot will take you on a horse safari for 2 session to connect with the many things horses can offer us and teach us about ourselves, and to explore the stunning desert scenery from a different point of view. This week we take a step away from the dressage arena or any performance, and focus more on our selves.
All info and to book your spot please go to: Yard Yoga (if you haven’t used mindbodyonline before you’ll have to create a account). Half of all spots are booked up.